Review by mwgfrg January 2, 2012 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
|This is one of the finest recordings from Sanderling's complete Brahms cycle from the'70s. Sanderling's Brahms is majestic and resonant, and this symphony in particular profits from his approach. I have the cycle on both Eurodisc and British RCA LPs, and the SACD sounds almost indistinguishable from the Eurodiscs--perhaps a bit crisper--which are slightly darker and warmer than the RCAs. I have heard several RBCDs of this recording, both European and Japanese, and this is a substantial improvement on either. The Dresden orchestra plays the symphony about as beautifully as possible--why on earth wouldn't they?--and it is hard to choose between this recording and the Esoteric reissue of the Carlos Kleiber. Much as I love the Vienna Philharmonic, it would be hard to say it outplays the Dresden on this work. Kleiber is a bit more dynamic and incisive in his interpretation, but frankly the excellent, warm and rich analogue recording here has the edge, excellent as Esoteric's remastering was of a somewhat iffy DG recording. You can't go wrong with either, and of course this is about 60 percent the price of the Esoteric, even if the latter is still available. The Walter recording on Sony is also superb, but the playing of the so-called Columbia Symphony cannot match either the Vienna or the Dresden performance, and the sound is inferior to the recording given Sanderling.
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